The United Arab Emirates (Arabic: دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة Dawlat al-ʾImārāt al-ʿArabiyyah al-Muttaḥidah), sometimes simply called the Emirates or the UAE, is an Arab country located in the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing sea borders with Qatar and Iran.
The UAE is a federation of seven emirates (equivalent to principalities). Each emirate is governed by a hereditary emir who jointly form the Federal Supreme Council which is the highest legislative and executive body in the country. One of the emirs is selected as the President of the
The constituent emirates are United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras
al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. The capital is Abu
Dhabi, which is one of the two centers of commercial and cultural
activities, together with .
Islam is the official religion of the UAE, and Arabic is the official language. Dubai
Since 1962, when
became the first of the emirates to begin
exporting oil, the country's society and economy have been transformed. The
late Sheikh Zayed, ruler of Abu
and the first president of the UAE, oversaw the development of the Emirates and
steered oil revenues into healthcare, education and infrastructure. Today,
Emirates oil reserves are ranked as the seventh largest in the world, along
with world's seventeenth largest natural gas reserves has contributed towards
making UAE one of the most developed economies in Western Asia with world's
seventh highest per capita income. It's most populous city of Abu Dhabi Dubai
has emerged as a global city and a business gateway for the Middle East and Africa.
The earliest known human habitation in the UAE dated from 5500 BC. At this early stage, there is proof of interaction with the outside world, particularly with civilizations to the northwest in
By the 1st century AD overland caravan traffic between
Syria and cities in southern began. Also, there was
seaborne travel to the important Iraq port
of Omana (present-day Umm al-Qaiwain)
and then to .
These routes were an alternative to the India Red Sea
route used by the Romans. Pearls had been exploited in the area for millennia
but at this time the trade reached new heights. Seafaring was also a mainstay
and major fairs were held at Dibba, bringing in merchants from as far as China
Advent of Islam
The arrival of envoys from the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 630 heralded the conversion of the region to Islam. After Muhammad, one of the major battles of the Ridda Wars was fought at Dibba resulting in the defeat of the non-Muslims and the triumph of Islam in the
In 637, Julfar (today Ra's al-Khaimah) was used as a staging post for the Islamic invasion of Sasanian
. Over many centuries, Julfar
became a wealthy port and pearling center from which dhows travelled throughout
the Indian Ocean especially to neighboring Iran
and its cities of Thatta and Debal. land of Sindh
Portuguese, Ottoman, and British control
Portuguese expansion into the Indian Ocean in the early 16th century following Vasco da Gama's route of exploration saw them battle Safavid
During the 16th century, the entire territory came under the direct influence of the
Ottoman Empire. The
Ottoman Navy defeated Portuguese forces on several fronts including the Gulf
coast. The British eventually got the upper hand, but the region was known to
the British as the "Pirate Coast", as raiders based there harassed
the shipping industry despite both European and Omani navies patrolling the
area from the 17th century into the 19th. British expeditions to protect the
Indian trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that
headquarters and other harbours along the coast in 1819. The following year, and
local rulers signed a treaty to combat piracy along the Persian-Gulf coast. Yet
according to the local Qawassim version, the piracy issue was a pretext. The
British Empire tried to further establish itself in the Persian Gulf region and
to secure it from any other European influence, particularly from Britain France and , not from local raiders.
This version has been particularly well articulated by the current emir of
Sharjah in his 1986 book 'The Myth of Arab Piracy in the Gulf’. From this, and
from later agreements, the area became known as the Russia .
Raids continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to
engage in hostilities at sea. In 1853, they signed a treaty with the British,
under which the sheikhs (the "Trucial Sheikhdoms") agreed to a
"perpetual maritime truce." It was enforced by the Trucial Coast ,
and disputes among sheikhs were referred to the British for settlement. United Kingdom
Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, the
and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar
to treaties entered into by Britain
with other principalities in the Persian Gulf.
The sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to Britain and not to enter into relationships with
any foreign government other than the without its consent.
In return, the British promised to protect the United Kingdom
from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack. British
suppression of piracy meant that pearling fleets could operate in relative
security. However, the British prohibition of the slave trade meant an
important source of income was lost to some sheikhs and merchants. Trucial Coast
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the pearling industry thrived in the relatively calm sea, providing both income and employment to the people of the
The decline of pearling resulted in a very difficult era, with little opportunity to build any infrastructure.
Beginning of the oil era
Oil was first discovered in the 1950s. At the beginning of the 1960s, the first oil company teams carried out preliminary surveys and the first cargo of crude was exported from
In 1955, the
sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter's dispute with over the Buraimi Oasis,
another territory to the south. A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi
Arabia would have settled the Abu Dhabi-Saudi border dispute; however, the
agreement has yet to be ratified by the UAE government and is not recognised by
the Saudi government. The border with Oman also remains officially
unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999. Oman
The British had set up a development office that helped in some small developments in the emirates. The seven sheikhs of the emirates then decided to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. In 1952, they formed the Trucial States Council, and appointed Adi Bitar, Sheikh Rashid's legal advisor, as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the Council. The council was terminated once the
was formed. The development of the oil industry in the 1960s, encouraged
unification of the sheikdoms. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of
United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi in 1966 and the British started losing
their oil investments and contracts to oil companies. As independence
loomed in 1968, Bahrain and Qatar joined the Trucial States. Differences caused
them to leave the union in 1971. U.S.
By 1966 it had become clear the British Government could no longer afford to administer and protect what is now the
The UAE supported military operations from the United States and other Coalition nations that are engaged in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan (2001) and Saddam Hussein in Iraq (2003) as well as operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism for the Horn of Africa at Al Dhafra Air Base located outside of Abu Dhabi. The air base also supported Allied operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch. The country had already signed a military defense agreement with the
U.S. in 1994 and one with in 1995.
In January 2008, France and the UAE signed a deal allowing France France to set up a permanent military base in
the emirate of .
The UAE joined international military operations in Abu Dhabi in March 2011. Libya
On 2 November 2004, the UAE's first president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, succeeded as Emir of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the constitution, the UAE's Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa as president. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2006, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and the ruler of Dubai, died, and the crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum assumed both roles.
The first-ever national elections were held in the UAE on 16 December 2006. A small number of hand-picked voters chose half of the members of the Federal National Council—which is an advisory body.
Largely unaffected by the Arab Spring turmoil, the government has nonetheless clamped down on Internet activism. In April 2011, five activists who signed an online petition calling for reforms were imprisoned. They were pardoned and released in November. Since March 2012 more than 60 activists (later showed evidence of being moved by
chaos) have been detained without charge (at the time) – some of them
supporters of the Islah Islamic group. A member of the ruling family in Ras
al-Khaimah was put under house arrest in April 2012 after calling for political
openness. Mindful of the protests in nearby Iran , in November 2012 the UAE
outlawed online mockery of its own government or attempts to organise public
protests through social media. Bahrain
United Arab Emirates
is situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf
of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi
Arabia; it is in a strategic location along southern
approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital
transit point for world crude oil.
The UAE lies between 22°30' and 26°10' north latitude and between 51° and 56°25′ east longitude. It shares a 530-kilometer border with
Saudi Arabia on the west, south, and southeast,
and a 450-kilometer border with
on the southeast and northeast. The land border with Oman in the Khawr al Udayd area is
about nineteen kilometers (12 miles) in the northwest; however, it is a source
of ongoing dispute. Following Britain's military departure from UAE in 1971,
and its establishment as a new state, the UAE laid claim to islands resulting
in disputes with Iran that remain unresolved. UAE also disputes claim on other
islands against the neighboring state of Qatar . The largest emirate, Qatar , accounts for
87% of the UAE's total area (67,340 square kilometres (26,000 sq mi)). The
smallest emirate, Abu Dhabi Ajman, encompasses only 259
km2 (100 sq mi).
The UAE coast stretches for more than 650 km (404 mi) along the southern shore of the
Persian Gulf. Most
of the coast consists of salt pans that extend far inland. The largest natural
harbor is at Dubai, although other ports have
been dredged at ,
Sharjah, and elsewhere. Numerous islands are found in the Persian Gulf, and the
ownership of some of them has been the subject of international disputes with
both Abu Dhabi Iran and . The
smaller islands, as well as many coral reefs and shifting sandbars, are a
menace to navigation. Strong tides and occasional windstorms further complicate
ship movements near the shore. The UAE also has a stretch of the Al Bāţinah
coast of the Qatar Gulf of Oman, although the Musandam
Peninsula, the very tip of Arabia by
the Strait of Hormuz is an exclave of separated by the UAE. Oman
South and west of
vast, rolling sand dunes merge into the Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter) of .
The desert area of Saudi Arabia
includes two important oases with adequate underground water for permanent
settlements and cultivation. The extensive Liwa Oasis is in the south near the
undefined border with Abu Dhabi . About 100 km (62 mi) to the
northeast of Liwa is the Al-Buraimi oasis, which extends on both sides of the
Abu Dhabi-Oman border. Saudi
Arabia Lake Zakher is a man-made lake near the border with . Oman
Prior to withdrawing from the area in 1971,
delineated the internal borders among the seven emirates in order to preempt
territorial disputes that might hamper formation of the federation. In general,
the rulers of the emirates accepted the British intervention, but in the case
of boundary disputes between Britain Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and also between and Sharjah, conflicting claims were
not resolved until after the UAE became independent. The most complicated
borders were in the Dubai ,
where five of the emirates contested jurisdiction over more than a dozen
Flora and fauna
The oasis grow date palms, acacia and eucalyptus trees. In the desert the flora is very sparse and consists of grasses and thornbushes. The indigenous fauna had come close to extinction because of intensive hunting, which has led to a conservation program on
initiated by Sheikh Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan in the 1970s, resulting in the survival of, for example,
Arabian oryx and leopards. Coastal fish and mammals consist mainly of mackerel,
perch and tuna, as well as sharks and whales. Bani Yas Island
The climate of the U.A.E is subtropical-arid with hot summers and warm winters. The hottest months are July and August, when average maximum temperatures reach above 45 °C (113.0 °F) on the coastal plain. In the Al Hajar Mountains, temperatures are considerably lower, a result of increased elevation. Average minimum temperatures in January and February are between 10 and 14 °C (50 and 57.2 °F). During the late summer months, a humid southeastern wind known as Sharqi (i.e. "Easterner") makes the coastal region especially unpleasant. The average annual rainfall in the coastal area is less than 120 mm (4.7 in), but in some mountainous areas annual rainfall often reaches 350 mm (13.8 in). Rain in the coastal region falls in short, torrential bursts during the summer months, sometimes resulting in floods in ordinarily dry wadi beds. The region is prone to occasional, violent dust storms, which can severely reduce visibility. The Jebel Jais mountain cluster in Ras al-Khaimah has experienced snow only twice since records began.
Government and politics
is a federation of absolute
hereditary monarchies. It is governed by a Federal Supreme Council made up of
the seven emirs of United
Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah,
Ras al-Khaimah and Umm al-Qaiwain. All responsibilities not granted to the
national government are reserved to the emirates. A percentage of revenues from
each emirate are allocated to the UAE’s central budget. Dubai
Although elected by the Supreme Council, the president and prime minister are essentially hereditary. The emir of
Dhabi holds the presidency, and the emir of is prime minister. All but one prime
minister served concurrently as vice president. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al
Nahyan was the UAE's president from the nation's founding until his death on 2
November 2004. On the following day the Federal Supreme Council elected his
son, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to the post. Dubai 's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed
Al Nahyan, is the heir apparent. Abu Dhabi
The UAE convened a half-elected Federal National Council in 2006. The FNC consists of 40 members drawn from all the emirates. Half are appointed by the rulers of the constituent emirates, and the other half are indirectly elected to serve two-year terms. However, the FNC is restricted to a largely consultative role. In December 2008, the Supreme Council approved constitutional amendments both to empower the FNC and to improve government transparency and accountability.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) eGovernment is the extension of the UAE Federal Government in its electronic form.
The Constitution of the United Arab Emirates confers equality, liberty, rule of law, presumption of innocence in legal procedures, inviolability of the home, freedom of movement, freedom of opinion and speech, freedom of communication, freedom of religion, freedom of council and association, freedom of occupation, freedom to be elected to office and others onto all citizens, within the limit of the law.
A constitutionally independent judiciary includes the Federal Supreme Court. However,
and Ras al-Khaimah are not part of the federal judicial system. All emirates
have their own secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts. Dubai
The court system comprises Sharia courts and civil courts. The Personal Status Law, which is based on Sharia and was enacted in 2005, regulates matters such as marriage, divorce and child custody. In criminal matters a woman’s testimony is worth half of that of a man before a court. Sharia courts have exclusive jurisdiction to hear family disputes, including matters involving divorce, inheritances, child custody, child abuse and guardianship of minors. Sharia courts may, at the federal level only, also hear appeals of certain criminal cases including rape, robbery, driving under the influence of alcohol and related crimes.
Homosexual relationships are illegal: article 80 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, while article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai imposes imprisonment of up to 10 years on consensual sodomy. Foreigners generally receive deportation, which is sometimes temporary. Prospective foreign employees infected with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or HIV will not be given work visas and have to leave the country.
During the month of Ramadan, between sunrise and sunset, it is illegal to publicly eat, drink (even water), or smoke. Exceptions are made for pregnant or nursing women, as well as children. This applies to non-Muslims as well as Muslims, and failure to comply may result in arrest.
Article 1 of the 1987 Federal Penal Code states that "provisions of the Islamic Law shall apply to the crimes of doctrinal punishment, punitive punishment and blood money." The Federal Penal Code repealed only those provisions within the penal codes of individual Emirates which are contradictory to the Federal Penal Code. Hence, both are enforceable simultaneously.
The Federal Supreme Court ruled that wife beating is not illegal, as long as it leaves no physical marks on the victim.
Many expatriate workers, mostly of Asian origin, have, after their arrival in the UAE, been turned into debt-ridden de facto indentured servants. Confiscation of passports, although illegal, occurs on a large scale, primarily from unskilled or semi-skilled employees.
Labourers often toil in intense heat with temperatures reaching 40-50 degrees celsius in the cities in August. Official temperatures are censored during the summer months – this is a common practice among all Gulf countries. Although attempts have been made since 2009 to enforce a midday break rule, these are frequently flouted. Those labourers who do receive a midday break often have no suitable place to rest and tend to seek relief in bus or taxi stands and gardens.
Police departments and non-Government organizations provide shelter and support for human trafficking victims until they are able to acquire the right documents and many victims are then sent home at the Government’s expense, under the Crime Victim Assistance Programme. These shelters include the Dubai Women's and Children's Foundation, which was established in July 2007, and Ewaa in Abu Dhabi, which opened in late 2008, as well as the Human Rights Care Department in Dubai and the Social Support Centre in Abu Dhabi, which have been operating for several years.
The issue of sexual abuse among female domestic servants is an area of concern, particularly given that domestic servants are not covered by the UAE Labor Law of 1980 or the Draft Labor Law of 2007. Worker protests have been suppressed and protesters imprisoned without due process.
In 2004, the
police opened designated departments in all emirate police stations that are
mandated to protect the human rights of both victims and perpetrators of crime. Dubai
The UAE government is currently studying the establishment of a national human-rights commission.
In 2013, the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) released its annual International Human Rights Indicator (IHRRI) report that ranks the
first among Arab countries and
14th globally for respecting human rights. The next Arab country on the list, United
Arab Emirates , was
ranked at 72. The UAE was also ranked six spots ahead of the Tunisia
which was placed 20th overall. To acquire its 14th position, the UAE fared well
across 21 individual categories, performing best in the education category with
a 94 per cent finish for ensuring top education for all children. United States
The UAE earned a 93 per cent rating for providing right to health care followed by an 85 per cent rating for right to life. For its protection for residents the right not to be deprived of property arbitrarily, the UAE was scored at 80 per cent while the country was scored at 79 per cent for protecting the rights of foreigners. The UAE was marked at 76 per cent for the right of protection for honour and equally at 76 per cent for the right to marry. A rating of 75 per cent was given to the UAE for working to protect the right to an adequate standard of living and 75 per cent was also given for the country’s protection of the rights of the accused. The UAE’s right to liberty and security was ranked at 71 per cent while the right of assembly in the UAE earned 70 points. The UAE also earned a 70 per cent rating for providing rights to acceptable conditions at work. Freedom of expression was scored at 69 per cent by the human rights indicator. The right to liberty of movement within the UAE was also scored at 69 per cent. The right to be free of discrimination was ranked at 66 per cent in the country.
In July 2013, a video was uploaded onto Youtube, which depicted a local driver hitting an expatriate worker, following a road related incident. Using part of his head gear, the local driver whips the expatriate and also taunts him, before other passers-by intervene. A short while later, Dubai Police announced that both, the local driver and the person who filmed the video, have been taken into custody. It was also revealed that the local driver was a senior UAE government official, although the exact government department is not known. The video once again brings into question the way that lower classes of foreign workers are treated.
The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization has prompted extensive diplomatic and commercial relations with other countries. It plays a significant role in OPEC and the UN, and is one of the founding members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The Emirates have long maintained close relations with
remain the highest investor in the country from among the rest of the Arab
had been first to formally recognize the UAE upon its formation and continues
to be one of its major economic and trading partners with about 400,000
expatriates receiving employment in the UAE. Pakistan
Trade between the Arabian peninsula and Indian sub-continent, together with shared British history, has over the centuries evolved into current close political, economic and cultural ties between the UAE and
The largest expatriate presence in the Emirates is Indian, with many local
Emiratis identifying some of their ancestors as being from the Indian
Sub-continent. Following British withdrawal from UAE in 1971, and the
establishment of UAE as a newly formed state, the UAE disputed rights to a
number of islands in the Persian Gulf against India . The UAE went so far as
brining the matter to the United Nations, however the case was dismissed. The
dispute has not significantly impacted relations because of the large Iranian
community presence and strong economic ties. Iran
In its dispute with the
and Israel, Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the
strait at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, a
vital oil-trade route. Therefore, in July 2012, the UAE began operating a key
overland oil pipeline which bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, to mitigate any
consequences of an Iranian shut-off.
are the UAE’s largest export markets and bilateral relations have long been
close as a large number of their nationals reside in the UAE. Germany
Diplomatic relations between UAE and
established as early as UAE's independence in December 1971. The two countries
had always enjoyed friendly ties and trade between each other. Exports from the
UAE to Japan Japan include crude
oil and natural gas and imports from to UAE include cars and
electric items. Japan
The UAE has continuously been a major contributor of emergency relief to regions affected by conflict and natural disasters in the developing world. The main UAE governmental agency for foreign aid is the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) which was established in 1971. Since its establishment, the ADFD has provided over Dh12.6 billion (US$3.45 billion) in soft loans and grants to countries mainly in
is divided into seven
is the most populated Emirate with 35.6% of the UAE population. The Emirate of
Abu Dhabi has a further 31.2%, meaning that over two-thirds of the UAE
population live in either Dubai Abu Dhabi or . Dubai
There is an Omani exclave surrounded by UAE territory, known as Wadi Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam peninsula and the rest of
in the Emirate of Sharjah. It covers approximately 75 square kilometres (29
square miles) and the boundary was settled in 1589. The north-east corner of Madha
is closest to the Khor Fakkan-Fujairah road, barely 10 metres (33 ft) away.
Within the Omani exclave of Madha, is a UAE exclave called Nahwa, also
belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah. It is about 8 kilometres (5 mi) on a dirt
track west of the town of Oman .
It consists of about forty houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange. New Madha
The UAE has a relatively high Human Development Index among the Asian continent, ranking forty-first globally. In 2011, UAE is ranked as the 14th best nation in the world for doing business based on its economy and regulatory environment, ranked by the Doing Business 2011 Report published by the World Bank Group
The GDP growth rate for 2010 was 3.20%. CPI inflation in the April 2008 — April 2009 year was 1.9%. The national debt as of June 2009 was $142 billion. In 2009, its GDP, as measured by purchasing power parity, stood at US$ 400.4 billion. With a population of just under 900,000
was labeled "The richest city
in the world" by a CNN article. Abu Dhabi
Petroleum and natural gas exports play an important role in the economy, especially in
More than 85% of the UAE's economy was based on the exports of natural
resources in 2009. The UAE has tried to reduce its dependency on oil exports by
diversifying the economy, particularly in the financial, tourism and
construction sectors. While Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi remained
relatively conservative in its approach, ,
which has far smaller oil reserves, was bolder in its diversification policy Dubai
UAE law does not allow trade unions to exist. The right to collective bargaining and the right to strike are not recognised, and the Ministry of Labour has the power to force workers to go back to work. Migrant workers who participate in a strike can have their work permits cancelled and be deported. Consequently, there are very few anti-discrimination laws in relation to labour issues, with Emiratis - other GCC Arabs - getting preference when it comes to employment, even though they show scant regard for work and learning on the job.
The UAE's economy, particularly that of
, was badly hit by the financial crisis
of 2007–2010. In 2009, the country's economy shrank by 4.00% and the property
sector and construction went into decline. However, tourism, trade and the
retail sector have remained buoyant and the UAE's overseas investments are
expected to support its full economic recovery. Concern remains about the
property sector. Property prices in Dubai
fell dramatically when Dubai World, the government construction company, sought
to delay a debt payment. Dubai
The UAE has been spending billions of dollars on infrastructure. These developments are particularly evident in the larger emirates of
Abu Dhabi and . The northern emirates are rapidly
following suit, providing major incentives for developers of residential and
commercial property. Dubai
The UAE has signed peaceful nuclear agreements with
States, and South Korea,
and a MOU with the . United
The UAE is presently serviced by two telecommunications operators, Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company ("du"). Etisalat operated a monopoly until du launched mobile services in February 2007. Internet subscribers are expected to increase from 0.904 million in 2007 to 2.66 million in 2012. The authorities filter websites for religious, political and sexual content.
The demographics of the UAE is extremely diverse. In 2010, the UAE's population was estimated at 8,264,070, of whom only 13% were UAE nationals or Emiratis, while the majority of the population were expatriates. The country's net migration rate stands at 21.71, the world's highest. Under Article 8 of UAE Federal Law no. 17, an expatriate can apply for UAE citizenship after residing in the country for 20 years, providing that person has never been convicted of a crime and can speak fluent Arabic.
With a male/female sex ratio of 2.2 for the total population and 2.75 for the 15–65 age group, the UAE's gender imbalance is second highest in the world after
In 2009, Emirati citizens accounted for 16.5% of the total population; South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) constituted the largest group, making up 58.4% of the total; other Asians made up 16.7% while Western expatriates were 8.4% of the total population.
There is a growing presence of Europeans especially in multi-cultural cities such as
Dubai Western expatriates, from Europe, Australia, Northern Africa, Africa and Latin America make up 500,000 of the UAE population. The
UAE has also attracted a small number of expatriates from countries in Europe,
North America, Asia, and Oceania. More than
100,000 British nationals live in the country. The rest of the population were
from other Arab states.
The average life expectancy is 76.7 years (2012), higher than for any other Arab country.
About 88% of the population of the
is urban. United Arab Emirates
Islam is the largest and the official state religion of the UAE, the government follows a policy of tolerance toward other religions and rarely interferes in the activities of non-Muslims. By the same token, non-Muslims are expected to avoid interfering in Islamic religious matters or the Islamic upbringing of Muslims.
The government imposes restrictions on spreading other religions through any form of media as it is considered a form of proselytizing. There are approximately 31 churches throughout the country, one Hindu temple in the region of Bur Dubai, one Sikh Gurudwara in Jebel Ali and also a Buddhist temple in Al Garhoud.
Based on the Ministry of Economy census in 2005, 76% of the total population was Muslim, 9% Christian, and 15% other (mainly Hindu). Census figures do not take into account the many "temporary" visitors and workers while also counting Baha'is and Druze as Muslim. Among Emirati citizens, 85% are Sunni Muslim, while Shi'a Muslims are 15%, mostly concentrated in the emirates of Sharjah and
. Omani immigrants are mostly Ibadi,
while Sufi influences exist too. Dubai
According to some sources, between 5 to 8% of the population are atheist. People of all faiths or no faith are given equal protection under the country's constitution and laws.
Arabic is the national language of the
. The Gulf
dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by the Emirati people. Being ruled by the
British until 1971 and being a hub for trade,English is the primary lingua
franca and a such, a knowledge of the same, is a requirement when applying for
most of the jobs in the UAE. Other widely used languages are Persian, spoken by
the Iranian diaspora, as well as Hindi-Urdu, Pashto and Tagalog, spoken by the
large South Asian, Pashtun and Filipino diasporas, respectively. Malayalam, the
official language of Kerala ( United Arab Emirates )
is spoken widely by the Malayali community that forms a huge majority of the
Indian diaspora in the UAE. Other small Asian groups do exist, primiarily,
Indonesian, Mainland Chinese and Japanese. India
has a diverse and
multicultural society. Major holidays in United
Arab Emirates Dubai
include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and National Day (2
December), which marks the formation of the . United Arab Emirates
Most Emirati males prefer to wear a kandura, an ankle-length white tunic woven from wool or cotton, and most Emirati women wear an abaya, a black over-garment that covers most parts of the body. The non-governmental campaign UAE Dress Code aims to educate the expat population on local dressing and its sensitivity to Emirati population. Each of the seven semiautonomous emirates has its own rules about attire.
is the most liberal in that regard, allowing miniskirts and bikinis, while Ras
al-Khaimah adopted a rule in April 2013 prohibiting bikinis, as well as tight
swimsuits for males, on public beaches. Dubai
Ancient Emirati poetry was strongly influenced by the 8th-century Arab scholar Al Khalil bin Ahmed. The earliest known poet in the UAE is Ibn Majid, born between 1432 and 1437 in Ras Al-Khaimah. The most famous Emirati writers were Mubarak Al Oqaili (1880–1954),
bin Ali al Owais (1887–1959) and Ahmed
bin Sulayem (1905–1976). Three other poets from Sharjah, known as the Hirah
group, are observed to have been heavily influenced by the Apollo and romantic
poets. The Sharjah International Book Fair is the oldest and largest in the
The list of museums in the
of regional repute, most famously Sharjah with its Heritage District containing
17 museums, which in 1998 was the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. In United Arab Emirates Dubai, the area of Al Quoz has attracted a number of art
galleries as well as museums such as the .
Salsali Private Museum Abu Dhabi has established a culture district on . There, six grand projects are
planned, including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Saadiyat Island also plans to build
a Kunsthal museum and a district for galleries and artists. Dubai
is a part of the khaliji
tradition, and is also known for Bedouin folk music. Liwa is a type of music
and dance performed mainly in communities that contain descendants of Bantu
peoples from the African Great Lakes region. The Dubai Desert Rock Festival is
also another major festival consisting of heavy metal and rock artists. The
cinema of the United
Arab Emirates is minimal but expanding. United Arab
The Media of the
important role in the region. United Arab Emirates Dubai Media City
and twofour54, 's
media zone, were set up to attract key players. The UAE is home to major
pan-Arab broadcasters, including the Middle East Broadcasting Centre and Orbit
Showtime Network. On 25 September 2007 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
decreed that journalists can no longer be prosecuted or imprisoned for reasons
relating to their work. At the same time, the UAE has made it illegal to
disseminate online material that can threaten "public order".
Criticism of the Royal family or government procedures is not allowed. Prison
terms have been given to those who "deride or damage" the reputation
of the state and "display contempt" for religion. Very recently, a
YouTube user was arrested in Abu Dhabi
for filming and uploading a video of a UAE local hitting an overseas worker. Dubai
The traditional food of the Emirates has always been rice, fish, and meat. The people of the
Emirates have adopted most of their foods from other
Middle Eastern countries including Iran,
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and . Seafood has been the mainstay
of the Emirati diet for centuries. Meat and rice are other staple foods; lamb
and mutton are the more favored meats, then goat and beef. Popular beverages
are coffee and tea, which can be supplemented with cardamom, saffron, or mint
to give them a distinct flavor. The cosmopolitan nature of the UAE means that
food from every continent can be found here. Fast food has become very popular
among youth, to the extent that campaigns are underway to highlight the dangers
of fast food excesses. Oman
Muslims are prohibited from eating pork, so it is not included in Arab menus. Hotels and other establishments frequently have pork substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labeled as such. Unlike other Muslim countries, it is not against the law to bring pork products into the country for personal consumption.
Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars (but not in Sharjah). All nightclubs and golf clubs are permitted to sell alcohol. Specific supermarkets may sell alcohol, but these products are sold in separate sections. Note that although alcohol may be consumed, it is illegal to be intoxicated in public or driver a motor vehicle with any trace of alcohol in the blood. Etihad Airways and Emirates airlines, both owned by the UAE, serve alcohol on their beverage menus too.
Football is the most popular sport in the UAE. Emirati football clubs Al-Ain, Al-Wasl, Al-Shabbab ACD, Al-Sharjah, Al-Wahda, and Al-Ahli are the most popular teams and enjoy the reputation of long-time regional champions. The United Arab Emirates Football Association was first established in 1971 and since then has dedicated its time and effort to promoting the game, organizing youth programs and improving the abilities of not only its players, but of the officials and coaches involved with its regional teams. The UAE national football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1990 with
It was the third consecutive World Cup with two Arab nations qualifying, after Egypt Kuwait and Algeria
in 1982, and Iraq and again
in 1986. The UAE won the Gulf Cup Championship two times.They won the first cup
in January 2007 held in Algeria Abu Dhabi and has won
the recent cup in January 2013 held in . Bahrain
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UAE, largely because of the expatriate population from the Indian subcontinent, the
United Kingdom, and . The Sharjah Cricket
Association Stadium in Sharjah has hosted 4 international test cricket matches
so far. Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Australia also hosted international cricket matches. Abu
Dhabi Dubai has two cricket stadiums (Dubai Cricket Ground No.1
and No.2) with a third, the DSC Cricket Stadium as part of . Dubai Sports
City is also home to the International
Cricket Council. The UAE national cricket team qualified for the 1996 Cricket
World Cup and narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2007 Cricket World
Formula One is particularly popular in the
, and is
annually held at the picturesque Yas Marina Circuit. The race is held at
evening time, and is the first ever Grand Prix to start in daylight and finish
at night. United Arab Emirates
Other popular sports include camel racing, falconry, endurance riding, and tennis.
The education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education in all emirates except
, where it falls under the authority
of the Abu Dhabi Education Council. It consists of primary schools, middle
schools and high schools. The public schools are government-funded and the
curriculum is created to match the Abu Dhabi development's
goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with
emphasis on English as a second language. There are also many private schools
which are internationally accredited. Public schools in the country are free
for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary. United Arab Emirates
The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education. The ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate institutions.
The literacy rate in 2007 was 91%. Currently there are thousands of nationals pursuing formal learning at 86 adult education centres spread across the country.
The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the
and the Masdar
Institute of Science and Technology and Institute for Enterprise Development. CERT Research
According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the United Arab Emirates University (1217th worldwide), the
University of Sharjah (2833th) and (3046th) University of Sharjah
The life expectancy at birth in the UAE is at 78.5 years. Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death in the UAE, constituting 28% of total deaths; other major causes are accidents and injuries, malignancies, and congenital anomalies.
In February 2008, the Ministry of Health unveiled a five-year health strategy for the public health sector in the northern emirates, which fall under its purview and which, unlike
and , do
not have separate healthcare authorities. The strategy focuses on unifying
healthcare policy and improving access to healthcare services at reasonable
cost, at the same time reducing dependence on overseas treatment. The ministry
plans to add three hospitals to the current 14, and 29 primary healthcare
centres to the current 86. Nine were scheduled to open in 2008. Dubai
The introduction of mandatory health insurance in
and their dependants was a major driver in reform of healthcare policy. Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi nationals were brought under the scheme from 1
June 2008 and
followed for its government employees. Eventually, under federal law, every
Emirati and expatriate in the country will be covered by compulsory health
insurance under a unified mandatory scheme. Recently the country has been
benefiting from medical tourists from all over the GCC. The UAE currently
attracts medical tourists seeking plastic surgery and advanced procedures,
cardiac and spinal surgery, and dental treatment, as health services have
higher standards than other Arab countries in the Dubai Persian